Library Gives Free Banned Books to Students

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First Amendment anyone?

When the school board in Republic, Missouri, voted to ban Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five from the high school library (along with Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler) back in July, the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library made the decision to give away 150 free copies of the novel to Republic High School students.

The library and museum, located in Indianapolis, now encourages the students to “stop the madness” and email them with their information in order to receive the free books, courtesy of an “anonymous donor.”

Wesley Scroggins, an assistant professor at Missouri State University, condemned the books at a school board meeting last year. On Slaughterhouse-Five, he wrote, “This is a book that contains so much profane language, it would make a sailor blush with shame. The ‘f word’ is plastered on almost every other page. The content ranges from naked men and women in cages together so that others can watch them having sex to God telling people that they better not mess with his loser, bum of a son, named Jesus Christ.”

Shocking, that the call for such a ban comes from a college professor. However, Missouri is not the only state to have had collegiate support of book bans. The president of Louisiana College removed A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines from the bookstore because a love scene conflicts with the school’s Christian values. Republican lawmakers called Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich into question as an appropriate summer reading choice at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Again, the reason was because of fears of anti-Christian behavior.

Banning books is counterintuitive and counterproductive, not to mention a blatant assault on First Amendment rights. The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library has the right idea. What’s the opposite of banned? Free.

What’s your opinion? Has your college banned any books or supported censorship?

Senior > English & Creative Writing > Fordham University

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